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Navigating Rental Payments & Coordination: A Quick Guide for New Wedding & Event Planners

As a seasoned wedding expert and someone who's deeply passionate about empowering fellow creatives, I often find myself fielding questions from new wedding planners eager to navigate the labyrinth of wedding coordination. Recently, I received a delightful inquiry from a budding planner seeking advice on coordinating rentals for their clients. Their question?

"Hey Janel, I hope you are doing well! I was hoping you could give me some advice on coordinating rentals for our clients. We are reaching out and getting the estimates. Do you typically forward those on to clients and then have them "start the process again" or do you handle the contract and then just have your clients pay/ reimburse you? I am sure there are many ways to do this. I just want to make sure we are doing what is best for our clients and our business. I appreciate any advice you are willing to give."

Well, let me tell you, this is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. Now, let's dive into the essentials of handling the finances and coordination of rentals as an event pro.

Picture this:

You're in the midst of orchestrating a dreamy affair, and rentals are a crucial piece of the puzzle. But here's the million-dollar question: How should you go about it? Should you forward the estimates to your clients and let them take the reins, or should you handle the contracts and streamline the process?

The answer, my dear friends, lies in understanding your role in the grand scheme of things. Are you the Planner, the Designer, or the Coordinator? Each role comes with its own set of responsibilities and considerations:

The Planner, acts like a "project manager", manages several different "plans" within the entire event - they oversee all contracts, collaborate with wedding vendors, outline schedules, and orchestrate logistics.

The Designer, on the other hand, develops event aesthetics and a number of "Visual plans" with design sketches, manages the design budget, sources decor, and oversees installations - they're like your "Interior Designer" for your event.

The (Day-of) Coordinator is the unsung hero. They are NOT just there on the "Day of" but actually start working with you up to 6 weeks in advance and (in addition to rehearsal) handle any last-minute issues, review and facilitate the timeline, and ensure that every contract is fulfilled seamlessly.

It's important to note that although Planners usually see the plan through to the end of the Day of the event, some clients choose to do their own or a majority of the "planning" and bring in a Designer and/or Day-of coordinator in as well to have the additional talent, resources, and premium service of these specialists.

Think of it this way.

If a Planner was like a doctor, they would be your "General Practitioner" while your Designer would be more like a medical specialist who can execute their high-level expertise for a unique need and specific focus that's important to you like a Neurologist or Cardiologist. Often, your "Day of" Coordinator is working "Triage" and they will prioritize needs, troubleshooting, and making sure each and every desire is set and executed in a timely fashion during the event.

Now, here's the kicker: You don't want to find yourself inadvertently crossing boundaries or breaching contracts. There can also be other insurance or even liability issues as well. That's why it's essential to clarify your role and responsibilities from the get-go. Essentially, in general, the Planner will forward the vendor invoices to the client for them to pay the vendor directly and the Planner will help to confirm and track payments.

Here's the bottom line, the name on the contract is legally held responsible for fulfilling the financial responsibilities. Planners typically do NOT handle direct payment to a vendor unless they have "sub-contracted" the vendor through their business.

For example, Designers may have in-house products they produce themselves or may have accounts/partnerships with suppliers and/or sub-contractors to provide products through them in their service agreements. These types of arrangements require explicit service contracts with the business that detail the deliverables, methods, schedules, late fees, payment agreements, and other legal terms and policies.

Paying payments By understanding the nuances of each role, you'll be better equipped to steer your clients in the right direction and ensure a smooth sailing experience for all parties involved.

And to my dear friend who posed this insightful question, thank you for reaching out! Your curiosity and eagerness to learn are truly commendable.

So, whether you're just dipping your toes into the world of wedding planning or you're a seasoned pro seeking a fresh perspective, remember this: Knowledge is power, and with a little guidance, you'll be weaving wedding magic like a pro in no time. Until next time, keep shining bright and spreading love through your craft.

Happy Planning!


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